Calvary Road Baptist Church


Romans 5.12-14 

For many years a man could be seen on the nightly television newscast that would close his report of the world and U. S. news with this sign-off: “And that’s the way it is.” The man’s name was Walter Cronkite, who I had the opportunity to meet when I was about thirteen years old. And according to Gallup polls taken during his reign as the king of nightly network news, he was the most trusted man in America. Why? Partly, because he told it just the way it is. Or, at least that was the impression he gave at the time.[1]

In the intervening years since Walter Cronkite retired from broadcast journalism and then passed from this life to eternity, we find that evidence is turning up that the most trusted man in America wasn’t so trustworthy after all. Walter Cronkite reported the war in Vietnam was being lost; only it wasn’t being lost. It has been held as indisputable fact by almost every American that the Vietnam War was lost. Walter Cronkite said so. In fact, however, the Vietnam War was a war our side won, and it was the peace following the Vietnam War was what was lost to the enemy.[2]

Folks, let’s talk for just a few moments about “the way it is.” Let’s not evaluate whether we like the way it is or don’t like the way it is. Let’s understand that some things are the way they are and there’s nothing that you or I can do about it. But instead of relying on the most trusted man in America, who it turns out was not trustworthy at all; let’s rely upon the only reliable source of truth known to man: the Word of God. And the concept I want us to look at in God’s Word is the concept of headship. Let’s not discuss how we would like for it to be or how we wished it could be. No. Let’s discuss it in such a way that when we’re finished, we can say with far greater assurance than Walter Cronkite, “That’s the way it is.”

Why is it that little children can be born with venereal disease caught from their mothers? Why were three precious children born to a brilliant woman in my own extended family who could have done any number of things to earn a living, but she chose to expose her children to her life of prostitution? I don’t know. That’s just the way it is.

Why is it that little boys and girls have to go without proper food, proper shelter, and proper clothing because their moms or dads refuse to work or foolishly spend the money they take in on drugs or booze or gambling? I don’t know. That’s just the way it is.

Is it fair that the citizens of Ethiopia suffered years of starvation and famine as a result of the oppressive rule of communist dictator Colonel Mengistu? Or that Venezuela, once the wealthiest country in South America and one of the riches oil producers in the world, is now falling apart under the late Hugo Chavez’ socialist policies?[3] No. But that’s the way it is. I don’t like it. I don’t like any of it. But that’s the way it is.

Why do advanced nations choose to look the other way when rich oil princes from the Gulf States fly in to a country devastated by an earthquake, pretending to rescue children from poverty and starvation, but in actuality bribing officials to look the other way as they lure the children into a lifestyle of sex slavery? The bureaucrats in advanced countries and international organizations do it for money. The rich men in their expensive jets do it for perverse pleasure.[4] It makes my blood boil. But that’s the way it is.

I could spend the entire morning recounting to you the heartbreaking tragedies that unfold in other parts of the world. The injustice of it all, the inhumanity that is undeniable. But the effect is little different in the long run from parents who erect barriers to their children’s exposure to the Gospel of God’s grace. Kids are born, grow up, live like their parents live most of the time, and then die and go to Hell, just like their parents and grandparents. It is heartbreaking. But that’s just the way it is.

Today we will begin a three-week study of one of the most important doctrinal passages in the entire Bible, Romans 5.12-21. And in this passage, we will see incontrovertible Bible evidence showing that your head determines your destiny. Over the next three weeks, we will see this to be true as the whole subject of this matter referred to as headship is examined from three different perspectives.

But for today, in Romans 5.12-14, we are told how the headship of the first man, Adam, affects those subordinate to him. I invite you to turn to that passage. When you find Romans 5.12 I invite you to stand with me for the reading of this portion of God’s Word: 

12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 

“Daddy, why did mommy die?” “God, why did my baby die?” My friends, we are at that portion of God’s Word where the answer to those questions is found. While some people are engaged in idle speculation, contemplating their navels or pretending to be sophisticated thinkers, you and I will be addressing the answer to some of the most pressing questions ever faced by mankind and individual people.

Pay very close attention for the next few minutes as we learn four truths about a thing called sin: 


“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world” 

There are several very important nuggets for us to mine here:

First, take note of the fact that the Apostle Paul is not explaining the origin of sin here, but is instead describing the entrance of sin. The Bible does indicate that sin, which is a falling short of God’s glory and rebellion against His revealed will, actually existed before the entrance of sin into the human race. Paul does not here address the origin of sin, however, but stays on his track of explaining how sin came to be a universal human characteristic that simply cannot be denied.

Second, take note of the fact that Paul is not attributing the entrance of sin into the human realm to the first woman, Eve, but to the first human being, Adam. We know, however, from the Genesis record, that Eve was the first human being to commit an act of sin against God when she disobeyed and ate the forbidden fruit.[5] So, why does Paul not attribute the entrance of sin into the human realm to Eve’s act of disobedience? Because he is beginning to lay the groundwork for a concept that is often referred to as headship. Wildly unpopular in this age of feminism, headship is nevertheless a concept that is taught in God’s Word. You will understand why feminism blinds some people to certain truths found in the Bible as we proceed.

Finally, take note of the fact that Paul is showing the extent to which sin permeates the human race. The apostle does not use the word “world” in the geographical sense, but in the racial sense, for “world” here refers not to the planet we call earth, but the race we call man. From one man to the entire world of humanity. That’s what Paul describes here. He does not explain. Neither does he pass judgment. He simply tells it “the way it is.” By the way. If you deny the Genesis account of the creation of Adam and Eve, then Paul’s explanation of sin’s entrance into human behavior must be incorrect. But how else do you explain sin? Deny the Bible. Deny God’s creation of Adam and then Eve. Deny their existence in the Garden of Eden. Deny Adam’s fall. However, when you deny you are left without an explanation for the way things obviously are in this world. You have no explanation whatsoever of “the way it is.” And, of course, that means you have no remedy for “the way it is.” 


“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin.” 

There are some startling revelations here:

First, there is the revelation that death is not a natural consequence. I mean, if death is the result of sin, as Paul has indicated here, what would have happened had Adam not sinned? Geneticists have for decades believed that aging and death are not the necessary experiences of human beings. Many scientists are of the opinion that something triggers a mechanism that results in aging and deterioration and ultimately physical death. But Bible believers have known for thousands of years that, although everyone does die, death is not an originally intended part of our human experience. In the beginning, when God created Adam and Eve, He created them, not mortal and doomed to a certain death, but immortal and prepared to commune with Him forever.

Thus, if death is not a natural consequence, it must be a judicial consequence. People don’t just die because that’s the way human beings are. People experience physical death as a result of sin. God told Adam that if he ate the forbidden fruit, he would die. It was not the eating of the forbidden fruit which resulted in Adam’s death. After all, the fruit he ate was not poisonous. His death was a secondary result of eating the fruit. Remember, Adam and Eve dwelled in the life-giving presence of God. And God is holy. When Adam, therefore, sinned against God by eating the forbidden fruit his proximity to the holy God became a spiritual impossibility. Therefore, death is the secondary effect and consequence of being separated from God as a result of offending Him by committing the crime of disobedience. Paul does not explain all of this to us in this verse. He merely declares to his readers that death is the result of sin. Which it is. 


“And so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” 

I want you to be aware of the fact that Paul has set up a cause and effect relationship here, which is important since every effect has a cause. The such and such effect is produced by such and such cause concerning every effect ever observed:

First, there is the effect Paul calls our attention to: 

“Death passed upon all men.” 

Can anyone deny that human beings die? Oh, I know that most human beings live today as though they believe they will never die. They live for today and forget about tomorrow. They make no provisions for their loved ones in the event of their deaths. And they make no provision for their eternal destiny in the event of their death. Despite all evidence to the contrary, they conduct themselves and manage their affairs as though they are going to live forever and never die. But the truth of the matter is, death has passed upon all men. You have never met a person who has not died or who will not die. Why? Because the grim reaper harvests every man. Folks, “that’s the way it is.” Would you not agree?

But what’s the cause of this thing called death? And please be advised that Paul’s use of the word death is not limited to physical death, but to spiritual death, as well. Why does this happen to people? Because “all have sinned.” Paul does not mean, by saying this that each person who dies experiences death because of a sin that he has committed. Babies die, and they have not willfully or knowingly sinned. No. Here is where the concept of headship comes into consideration. We human beings experience death because we are held accountable by God for something which our head did. And the head of our race was the man named Adam. “Oh pastor, how can that be? That doesn’t seem fair to me.” Did not Achan’s entire family die as a result of Achan’s sin of taking the Babylonish garment in the attack against Jericho?[6] And in Hebrews 7.9, does not the writer of Hebrews indicate that Levi paid tithes to Melchizedek through his ancestor Abraham, even though he had not yet been born at the time Abraham was paying that tithe to Melchizedek? Folks, the concept of headship may be totally foreign to our country and to our culture, but it is both a Biblical and a spiritual reality. Your head determines your destiny. The reason death is a universal reality in the human race, the reason mommy died, and the reason the baby died, was not because of their personal sin, necessarily. It’s because the sin of Adam has been charged to our account . . . because he was our head. 


There are a great many people who recoil at the thought that God would hold individuals responsible for something they did not personally do, even though there are numerous Biblical examples that show this to be the case. For this reason, Paul goes back in time to establish once and for all that the phrase at the end of verse 12, “for that all have sinned,” cannot possibly be referring to our sins, but has to refer to the disobedience of Adam.

Verse 13: 

“For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.” 

Is it wrong to drive through a school zone at 100 miles per hour just as kids are being let out of school? Of course, it is. But the maniac who drives that fast has violated no law until the city counsel or the state legislature has passed an ordinance making such excessive speeds illegal. In like manner, in verse 13 Paul is pointing out that before the giving of the Law of Moses, while there was a great deal of improper behavior, sin was not imputed when there is no Law. Though he knows that it is immoral and reprehensible, the patrolman cannot issue a ticket for driving 100 miles per hour in a school zone unless and until such behavior has been made illegal. God can do no less. He did not mark down to the account of Adam’s descendants any act of sin committed before the giving of the Law. Why? Since there was no Law, they had not violated the Law.

Verse 14: 

“Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.” 

But notice, people still died during that period before the giving of the Law of Moses. Why did they die? Could it have been because of their sin? No. God did not take into account their immoral behavior because they did not specifically violate any Law. But since death is the penalty for sin, whose sin must all these people have died for? Since they did not die as a result of their sin, which at that time was not illegal, they must have died for Adam’s sin, which when it was committed was illegal. God told him not to do it. So you see, every human being who has ever been the child of a man is guilty in God’s sight of Adam’s sin and is held accountable for his sin by God. “But that’s not fair.” Maybe. But that’s the way it is. 

Want to know why we have so many graves that scar the face of our planet, despite the fact that we go to great expense to make death and the reminders of death known as cemeteries as pretty and serene as possible? Want to know why we have so much tragedy and heartache that results from the loss of those we love and care for?

We have a head problem. Our head, the one appointed by God at the very beginning to act on behalf of us all, sinned. By committing that sin, he became a sinner. Since Adam, no one has sinned and become a sinner. Since Adam, people have been sinners who have committed sins.

Though you did not create the problem you are faced with it is a problem that you must deal with, or it will devour you. Though you do not like it, you must tackle it, or it will overwhelm you. And just as you cannot solve this problem for anyone else, no other mortal can solve it for you.

You came into the world with Adam as your head, your representative. “But I didn’t choose him, and I don’t like him.” Yes, but that’s the way it is. “But what can I do about changing my head?” You can’t do anything. But Jesus Christ can. If you have interest in a new head, with your new head having a righteousness you can benefit from rather than having Adam as your head his sin cursing you, then I suggest you and I talk about it.

Allow me to explain how you can come into this life with Adam as your head but leave this life with Christ as your head. Just let me know after the service that you would like to talk to me about it.


[1] I well remember Walter Cronkite reporting on the Tet Offensive and opining that U. S. Forces were being drubbed, when the reality was quite the opposite. See and,

[2] Richard Nixon, Real Peace; No More Vietnams, (New York: Simon and Schuster Inc., 1990 reprint), pages 206-326.

[3] 9/24/17

[4] These tragic facts were related to me by an Asian pastor whose country was devastated by an earthquake that gulf state oil barons took advantage of in the ways I have recounted.

[5] Genesis 3.6

[6] Joshua 7.1-25

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